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On the Ground at the UN

April 10, 2024
The Advocates Geneva 2024 Advocacy Team

The Advocates for Human Rights returned to the United Nations in Geneva in March for two very full weeks of international human rights advocacy. Staff were joined by ten volunteers and worked side-by-side with human rights defenders from the Mediterranean Institute for Gender Studies (Cyprus), National Network to end violence against women and domestic violence (North Macedonia), Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE), and Hibiscus Initiatives (United Kingdom). Partners from the Coalition of Somali Human Rights Defenders were unfortunately unable to join the team in Geneva because the Swiss embassy denied them visas.

International advocacy can be a powerful tool to improve human rights conditions at the local level.

While at the UN, the team participated in briefings with independent experts on the UN Human Rights Committee concerning the death penalty, human rights defenders, protections for Black and minoritized migrant women from violence against women and girls, and LGBTIQ+ rights in Guyana, Somalia, and the United Kingdom. The team also briefed the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the Committee’s upcoming review of Mexico, incorporating information clients have shared about their experiences with human rights violations in that country.

Activities in Geneva also included training on international advocacy, outreach to and meetings with Human Rights Council delegates about death penalty issues and violence against women, delivering four oral statements at the Human Rights Council, and meetings with colleague non-governmental organizations and UN Special Procedures mandates such as the Special Rapporteur on migrants and the Working Group on discrimination against women.

The Advocates also hosted two well-attended parallel events. Staff, partners, and volunteers presented a gender analysis of human rights issues in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Eritrea, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

International advocacy can be a powerful tool to improve human rights conditions at the local level. UN advocacy has played a key role in building global momentum for death penalty abolition by shining a light on the human rights violations attendant with executions. We've also seen some great results from our advocacy at the UN in the past, with laws changed to better protect women from violence and concrete steps towards death penalty abolition. We look forward to seeing the impact of our March advocacy work in the coming months.

On the ground in NYC: The Advocates' Elizabeth Montgomery and Verónica Cadavid González traveled to New York for the 68th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. While in New York, Veronica and Elizabeth closely followed the negotiations by States and participated in official side events on the UN grounds and civil society parallel events, hosted by CSW NGO, which allowed them to evaluate the current trends in gender equality advocacy. Veronica presented on a panel at one of the parallel events, sharing The Advocates' insights on Forced Criminality in Sex Trafficking and its Collateral Consequences.